Resources for Teachers and Classroom Presenters

North Shore Animal League’s Mutt-i-grees Curriculum

Building Calm, Confident and Caring Kids. The Mutt-i-grees Curriculum

muttigrees curriculum grades PK-3An innovative PreK-12 social and emotional learning curriculum that highlights the unique characteristics of shelter pets to teach essential skills for academic and life success. Guided by the research on resiliency, social and emotional learning, and human-animal interaction, the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum includes lesson plans and strategies to actively engage students and promote social and emotional competence, academic achievement, and awareness of the needs of shelter pets, also known as Mutt-i-grees. The programs have reached 3 million kids in 4000 schools across the country.

Curricula are available for grades K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12.
The Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum teaches social and emotional skills and is unique in its bridging of humane education and the emerging field of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL is based on the research on emotional intelligence and is the process by which students learn to manage their emotions, get along with others, acquire empathy and compassion, and discover essential decision-making and teamwork skills.

In a series of easily implemented lessons, students learn critical skills that will help them in their interactions with people (and animals) in school, at home, and later on in the workplace. The lessons are presented in five units: Achieving Awareness, Finding Feelings, Encouraging Empathy, Cultivating Cooperation, and Dealing with Decisions.

Each lesson is scripted to enable easy implementation and includes various different types of activities. Depending on students’ developmental level and their own teaching styles, teachers may select from discussions, role playing and hands-on activities, or they may use the readings and vocabulary words highlighted in each lesson plan. Song and dance, art, and writing activities provide opportunities for creative expression and collaboration.

Outcome studies have been conducted with more than 800 students in schools in rural and low-income urban communities. The studies randomly assigned some classrooms to receive the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum and included student and educator surveys on school climate, as well as behavior, empathy, and parent involvement measures. Comparing students in classrooms using the Curriculum with students in non-Curriculum classrooms, we found:

  • Significantly higher understanding of shelter dogs and dog behavior among teachers and students in classrooms using the Curriculum;
  • Significantly higher levels of empathy and pro-social behaviors among students and
  • Higher levels of positive school climate (linked to bullying prevention) and parent involvement.

More than 3 million students and their families in more than 4,000 schools, libraries, and afterschool programs have been touched by this unique curriculum, which prides itself on building calm, caring, confident kids.